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James Castle (1899-1977)
James Castle (1899-1977)
James Castle (1899-1977)
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Property from The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation and Family CollectionsLots 1036 - 1075I have been asked what caused me to collect self-taught or so-called "Outsider" art. I think the answer is not anything that differs from what propelled me to collect art itself, namely a conviction that the work achieves an inescapable and meaningful artistic presence: the quality that differentiates art from illustration. In the self-taught world, it is a work that transcends craft and folk art traditions and ends up creating, first and foremost, artistic experience. An illustration is an apple drawn to look like an apple. A work of art is an apple drawn as the artist sees the apple. It is the genuine artistic expression which then comes through. The same is true in the self-taught sector of the art world. The particularities and limitations of art as created in the Outsider world fade in the face of the unavoidable artistic presence that is expressed.- William Louis-DreyfusDriven by his own eye and great passion for the art he acquired, William Louis-Dreyfus assembled a unique collection spanning work by well-known artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Helen Frankenthaler, and Alberto Giacometti, alongside pieces by contemporary artists such as Graham Nickson, Catherine Murphy, and John Newman. However, as a collector, Louis-Dreyfus was particularly fascinated by the works of self-taught artists and focused much of his attention on James Castle, Bill Traylor, Nellie Mae Rowe, Clementine Hunter, Thornton Dial, and Willie Young, among others, who made complex, poetic artworks for uniquely personal and spiritual purposes. Louis-Dreyfus regarded the work of his favorite self-taught artists with the same intense enthusiasm as he did anything else in his collection, and acquired their work in depth. As such, the selection presented here includes superb examples by these stellar Outsider artists. Louis-Dreyfus put his extensive art holdings to the service of his other great pursuits: supporting educational programs and improving the lives of people of color. In 2012 Louis-Dreyfus established The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation and subsequently donated over 3,700 works of art to the Foundation. The works are housed in a museum-quality gallery in Mt. Kisco, New York that is available for viewing by appointment. According to Jeffrey Gilman, the President of the William-Louis-Dreyfus Foundation, “William was passionate about the art and artists in the collection and he hoped that the Foundation would be a means to expand public awareness and appreciation of those works and their creators. He was also passionate about helping the Harlem Children’s Zone and the work they do in helping break the cycle of poverty for so many children and their families.” Proceeds from the sales of artworks owned by the William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation will benefit the Foundation and the Harlem Children’s Zone.My father was never shy about what he believed in and, more than anything, he believed in art and justice. That he has found this way to marry those two beliefs is a sweet miracle for him. It makes sense for his soul. He once told me that when he first started to collect “Outsider” art, he didn’t know that it was “Outsider” art, he just thought it was good. That his good art will do good for generations to come at the Harlem Children’s Zone is deeply satisfying for our whole family.- Julia Louis-DreyfusPROPERTY FROM THE WILLIAM LOUIS-DREYFUS FOUNDATION
James Castle (1899-1977)

Untitled (Five Figures)

Details
James Castle (1899-1977)
Untitled (Five Figures)
watercolor, ink and string on repurposed Home Dairies Ice Cream carton
5 x 6 ¾ in.
Provenance
Agnes C. Wade, sister of the artist
Heirs of Agnes C. Wade (Geraldine E. Garrow, Georgia M. Allred, Guy W. Wade Jr. and Gail M. Johnson)
James Castle Collection LP, Boise, Idaho
Private Collection, New York
Chowaiki & Co, New York
Exhibited
New York, New York Studio School, James Castle: People, Places & Things, 29 January - 4 March 2018.

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Lot Essay

It’s an unending thrill for me to be wrapped up in James Castle’s world. The more you see of it, the more masterful the work and the more convinced you become of its major position in American Art.
- W L-D.
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